Purple at Heart - Y Magazine
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Purple at Heart

After 20 years of loyal service to Weber State University, a BYU alum becomes its 11th president.

F. Ann Millner

F. Ann Millner | Photo courtesy Weber State University

When F. Ann Millner, EdD ’86, wanted to pursue an advanced degree in education administration, the Weber State University educator looked to BYU, whose program had been highly recommended by her colleagues and friends. The training Millner received would be called on in 1993, when she was named Weber State vice president of university relations, and especially in October 2002, when she was chosen as the 11th president of the university.

Following a nationwide search for a qualified candidate, Millner was selected from the pool of 55 candidates—much to her surprise. “I couldn’t believe it,” she recalls. “I have to admit, I didn’t expect it.” Millner, who had been with Weber State since 1982, applied for the position because she believed so much in the university.

She will be the first one to tell you of all the great things Weber State University is doing. She will be the first to describe Weber State’s various efforts to strengthen its community, provide access and opportunity to its 18,800 students, and prepare them for the future.

But she will be the last to mention that she is the first woman to preside over a state university in Utah or to bring up the long list of awards and honors she has received during her 21 years at Weber State and in her involvement in the Ogden community.

“When I first came to Weber State, I certainly didn’t expect that I would still be here,” Millner says. “I thought I’d be here three or four years and then move on to another opportunity. I found that I really believed in this institution and our focus on students, our focus on being a teaching and learning university, and in providing access to opportunities for students.”

Much of Millner’s educational philosophy comes from her father. “My father once said to me, ‘The one thing I can give you that no one can ever take away is an education, and you will always have that to take care of yourself,'” Millner says.

When it came time for Millner to go to college, her father told her she could attend the state college of her choice. Having grown up in Clarksville and Nashville, Tenn., that meant enrolling at the University of Tennessee, where her father had gone. She later completed the medical technology program at Vanderbilt University and became its education coordinator. Her career in education administration took her to three other institutions and eventually brought her to Weber State University.

In her new role as president she has made the university’s relationship with the community a top priority. “The people that support this university are also people that are very involved in the community, making sure that we have a strong community. The two really go together,” she says. “The university can only be strong if we have strong community and vice versa.”

Millner’s commitment to the ideals and institution of Weber State is unquestionable. When people ask her where she is headed in the future, her answer is straightforward: “Weber State. I’ve been at Weber State for 21 years. I made a decision a while back that I wanted to stay at this institution. I care about it and I’m loyal to it. If I didn’t get the position, I’d still want to be here. This is where I plan to stay.”